Of the Extent of Kilbride, its Population, Places of Note, &c., Part I., pp.141-150.

THE county of Lanark is commonly divided into the upper, middle, and lower wards. In the second of these divisions is situated the parish of Kilbride. It is bounded on the north by the parish of Carmunnock: on the west by Eaglesham: on the south by Loudon, Avendale, and Glassford: and on the east by Blantyre, and Cambuslang. It is about 10 miles in length, from south to north; and from 2, to 5, in breadth, from east to west. It consists of the united parishes of Torrance and Kilbride;1 and is subdivided into 446 horse-gangs, according to which the statute work is paid, each horse-gang being rated at 3s. 6d. sterl. The valuation, as it stands in the Cess-book of the county, is 7679l. 13s. 3d. Scots. The real rent, however, may, on an average, be estimated at 4s. 6d. per acre: which, on a general calculation, may amount to 5040l. sterl. The number of heritors is about 135, nearly 30 of whom are non-residents. The parish is inhabited by 587 families, which contain 2359 persons, of whom 1065 are males; 1294 females; and 488 children under 6 years of age. The return made to Dr. Webster, in 1755, was only 2029. The upper part of the parish, however, was, some time ago, greatly depopulated by the accumulation of small farms into large ones. The parochial Register of baptisms commences in the year 1688, but no accurate calculation can be instituted upon that, as the childrens names have not been uniformly enrolled. I have, however, extracted from the session-books a list of baptisms in the following periods. 

Years.

Males.

Females.

Total.

1688,

27,

20,

47.

1689,

25,

22,

47.

1700,

21,

16,

37.

1710,

23,

30,

53.

1720,

17,

31,

48.

1740,

26,

30,

56.

1770,

30,

25,

55.

1780,

39,

35,

74.

1785,

29,

32,

71.

1788,

32,

31,

63.

1789,

31,

34,

65.

1790,

30,

32,

62.

NO register of burials has been kept in the parish, the difference, therefore, between the births and burials is not known. In the form of registration the mother’s name is omitted, a circumstance which, in many cases, renders useless the chief design of registrating births. As sessional registrations bear legal evidence in courts of law, the community should pay attention to the form in which they are made. 

THIS parish is called East-Kilbride to distinguish it from West-Kilbride, in the county of Ayr. The name is compounded of Kill, a Gælic word for a church or burying place, and Bride, or Bridget, the name of a saint greatly famed in the Romish legends. Scottish and Irish writers contend about the place of her nativity. Hect. Boethius2 maintains that she was born in Scotland: that she received her education in the Isle of Man: and at her death was interred at Abernethy. This opinion is supported by B. Leslie,3 who takes great pains to distinguish her from the Swedish Briget. It is asserted on the other hand, “That she was born in a village belonging to the diocese of Armagh, and became one of the greatest ornaments of the kingdom of Ireland. Her father, who was one of the principal chiefs of the country, instructed her to the care of a christian woman, who educated her (says the historian) in the fear of God, and love of virginity. Her father, after she was come of age, brought her home to his house; which rather served to confirm the resolution she had taken to consecrate her virginity to God. Being asked in marriage by a young man, she prayed to the Lord, to render her so deformed, that he would think no more of her. The prayer was heard, and a disease in her eyes delivered her from his solicitations, and induced her father to permit her to take the vail. Three other ladies of the country joined her in this design, who, after their vow of perpetual virginity, received the vail and a peculiar dress from St. Niel, a disciple of St. Patrick. She was, during her lifetime, the founder of many monasteries, in different provinces of Ireland. She instituted a religious order, called the Holy Saviour, and gave the order rules, contained in 31 chapters, dictated, as it is reported, by Jesus Christ himself, and approved by the holy See. This order prevailed very much in Britain, Ireland, and the low countries. She persuaded Pope Gregory XI. to transfer the holy See from Avignon to Rome, where she died.”4 An Irishman who writes her life, under the title of Bridgida Thaumaturga, (8vo Paris, 1620) tells us, that one of her chief miracles was restoring, by a touch of her hand, a withered and dry tree, to a flourishing state.5 Archb. Usher seems to think that there might be two saints of the same name, one belonging to Ireland, and the other to Scotland; and so each kingdom might value itself on account of its own saint. But, to whatever kingdom she belonged, one thing is certain, that many places in Scotland have been dedicated to her honour: and that the sirnames Bride, and McBride, are by no means unfrequent in this country. 

CROSSBASKET, the least elevated ground in the parish, is about 200 feet above the level of the sea: the top of Eldrig, at the distance of about 7 miles south of Cross basket, is computed to be at least 1600. From Crossbasket to Eldrig there is a gradual ascent, but consisting of a regular succession of small hills, with very little level ground between them. The moorland part of the parish commences about 2 miles to the north of Eldrig, and continues a considerable way down the south side of the ridge, where Kilbride borders with Loudon. Eldrig is the highest part of that ridge formed by the hills in Eaglesham, Mearns, Nielston, &c. 

THE most remarkable waters,6 and rivulets in the parish are, White-Cart, Calder, Pomillan, Kittoch, and the water of Irvine. The Cart, Calder, and water of Irvine, derive their origin from the Eldrig, and its vicinity. Calder takes its course by Torrance, Calderwood, Crossbasket, and joins Clyde in the parish of Blantyre. Cart runs by Eaglesham, Cathcart, Paisley, &c. and enters Clyde below Inchinan Bridge. Pomillan runs through Strathaven, and joins Aven about half a mile from the town. Kittoch, which rises from the neighbourhood of the Shields, out of a marsh commonly called Kittoch’s Eye, runs by the village of Kilbride, Kittochside, Piel, &c. and joins Cart near Busbie, to which place the west boundary of the parish anciently extended: but the lands of Busbie are now allocated, quo as sacra, to the parish of Carmunnock. Over these rivulets are several good stone bridges, but none of them are so remarkable as to require a particular description. 

THE village of Kilbride is 7½ miles south of Glasgow, 5 of Rutherglen, and 6 west of Hamilton. It consists of 71 dwelling-houses, which form the chief street and two lanes. It is inhabited by 167 families; which contain 524 inhabitants. This village, of which the proprietor of Kirktounholm is superior, was constituted a burgh of barony, about the end of Queen Anne’s reign. By the grant the inhabitants are empowered to hold a weekly market on Tuesday, besides four fairs in the year. The market-day is not observed, but the fairs are tolerably well frequented. 

ABOUT a quarter of a mile west from Kilbride is the mansion-house of Kirktounholm. The old building was, about 30 years ago, destroyed by lightening: a very elegant modern structure now occupies its place. Lord Lyle, formerly Sir Walter Cunningham, Bart. of Corsehill, is the proprietor. 

ADJOINING to Kirktounholm is Limekilns, the family-seat of William Graham of Limekilns, Esq; About a mile and a half west from Limekilns is Kittochside, the most pleasant village in the parish. 

IN the neighbourhood of this place are the remains of two ancient Fortifications, on two hills, now known by the name of Castlehill and Rough-hill. The former is situated on the north, and the latter on the south-side of Kittoch: the distance between them is about 200 yards. The intervening plain, through which the rivulet runs, is called Castleflat. The area on the top of the Castlehill is 122 feet in length, and 63 in breadth. There are no remains of buildings on it. The natural situation of the hill renders it not easily accessible but on one side: at each end there is a ditch, about 57 feet wide, and 11 deep, cut quite across the hill, or rather narrow ridge of which the Castlehill originally made a part. The area on the top of the Rough-hill is 129 feet in length, and 71 in breadth. On this are the remains of a building that measures 73 feet, by 63. The ruins of this ancient structure have, for a long while past, supplied materials for the dykes, and roads in the neighbourhood. It was built of free-stone, but the stones do not appear to have been hewn. Some labourers, about 50 years ago [1743], as they were collecting stones for the above-mentioned purposes, discovered, among the ruins, a pretty large vault. On making this discovery they were greatly elated with the hopes of finding a treasure. After the most diligent search, however, they found nothing but rubbish. In a few days the subterraneous apartment, which had been concealed for time immemorial, was no more. It is probable that other vaults may lie buried in the ruins, as they have never been thoroughly searched. Two sides of the hill are almost inaccessible, the rest have been secured by fossæ, of which there are yet some distinct traces. It is not known whether any stones having inscriptions on them were ever discovered among the rubbish: it is probable that no attention was paid by the workmen, to so minute, and, in their apprehension, so trifling a circumstance. Not far from the ruins I lately found a Celt, or stone-hatchet, of a coarse kind of iron-stone; it is 6¾ inches in length, and 3 in breadth, at the face, but only 1 at the other end, pl. 1. fig. 4. It is worthy of notice that celts, from every part of the world where they have been found, are nearly of the same shape. this rude instrument, being used by the inhabitants of this country before they knew the use of iron, carries back our ideas to the most remote antiquity. 

WHEN, or by whom, these hills were occupied, as places of strength, cannot easily be discovered. Tradition says, that they were built by the Romans: but their elliptical form seems to put a negative upon that report. Nor is it certain but that both of them belonged to the same fortification. This is the more probable as there are no remains of building on the Castlehill, which might be used as an exploratory mount, or a prætorium

ALTHOUGH the above-mentioned ruins are, probably, the most ancient in the parish, yet there are others of considerable antiquity. One of these is the Mains of Kilbride. This extensive habitation of a rich and powerful family is situated about a mile north of the kirk, and is wholly in ruins, except the tower which is pretty entire. This, like the abodes of the great in former times, appears to have been built for defence. It is 56 feet high, 37 long, and 27 broad: at the west end is a dark and dismal vault, which seems to have been used as a prison: the wall near the ground is about 6 feet in thickness: the windows are extremely narrow and irregularly placed. This tower was habitable till about 70 years ago, when the roof was taken off to procure slates for some office-houses at Torrance. It was surrounded by a deep fossa which is yet visible: the chief entry was by a narrow draw-bridge on the east, and strongly guarded by a beautiful arched gate, over which was placed a stone having the Arms of Scotland cut upon it. The workmanship is good, considering the period when it must have been executed: the tails of the unicorns, however, are made to bend downwards between the hind legs, similar to the direction given them in the title page of Bassandyne’s folio Bible, printed at Edinburgh 1576. This stone was, about 50 years ago, taken down by order of Col. Stuart, and removed to Torrance, where it is placed in the front of the house, above the chief entry.

 

1  The parish of Torrance was, in 1589, annexed to the parish of Kilbride, “as being a pendicle thereof, and as next adjacent to the said kirk.” Records of the presb. of Glasgow, anno 1589. 
2  Lib. 9. fol. 158. 
3  Lib. 4. p. 141. 
4  Histoire du Clergé seculier et regulier. Tome troisieme. p. 316. 
5  Nicolson’s Histor. Librar
6  The term water, as a proper name, is generally used in Scotland to denote a small river.

2 thoughts on “Of the Extent of Kilbride, its Population, Places of Note, &c., Part I., pp.141-150.

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